Crime is down on the Key Peninsula, according to recent statistics released at the June 26 Key Peninsula Crime Prevention Group meeting at the fire station in Longbranch. Law enforcement representatives, residents and business owners got together to discuss crime trends on the Key Pen and upcoming safety-related events.
Lt. Larry Bauer, supervisor of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Peninsula Detachment, talked about Peninsula crime statistics, which have been posted online monthly for several years. “In general, crime is tending to trend down, most likely due to being in the post-meth era,” Bauer said. “There are no glaring problems here, but we do monitor it closely.”
Bauer pointed out that while drug-related crimes have gone down locally, the problem nationwide has impacted other types of crimes. “I think the spike in fraud-related (identity) crimes is related to meth. Not in our part of the country, but across the U.S,” he said. “They are not dealing with it as well as we are. People are stealing information across the Internet.”
Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor also talked about the nationwide meth epidemic. “We (Pierce County) are being looked at nationally as a model for how other jurisdictions should do it,” Pastor said. “You should look at the person next to you and pat them on the back. It’s taken shoe leather and dedication. The trick for us, and any law enforcement, is to figure out the next wave—not be behind things. We got ahead of the wave, but it didn’t keep the wave from coming. Other jurisdictions have had the problem longer than we have. Our people worked with the prosecutor’s office, Child Protective Services, Safe Streets and others to help educate and engage community members. It was not just badge carriers that made it a success, it was everybody linking arms.”
Pastor also talked at length about the community’s role in ensuring safe neighborhoods. “There is an attitude of obligation that we have to begin to rediscover,” he said. “We have problems with two types of responsibility. One type is personal responsibility, which we do or don’t except. The other type is responsibility for the people around us—what you owe your community. We have to do both of those things. If we just pay our taxes, It’s not good enough.”
In line with the sheriff’s views on community involvement, the meeting also provided an opportunity for organizations to promote local safety events. Andrea Jerabek, Gig Harbor/Key Peninsula community mobilization specialist for Safe Streets, provided information on upcoming safety events, including the 25th Annual National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 5. Safe Streets is the official NNO organizer for Pierce County. By registering a neighborhood crime-prevention workshop, safety fair or barbecue with Safe Streets, groups will receive a helpful information packet and be designated an official NNO event. “The benefit of registering your block group with Safe Streets in Pierce County is you get some really neat things,” Jerabek said.
Safe Streets is a nonprofit organization that brings people together, primarily through forming neighborhood block organizations, to take back the streets. The group also assists with local safety events and programs, including meth forums, Paint Pierce Beautiful and the Key Peninsula Business Crime Watch (see related story). For details, call Jerabek at 884-1616, or visit www.safest.org.
Another upcoming event, presented by the Key Peninsula Crime Prevention Group, will be “Safety at Home” on Saturday, Sept. 13, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Key Peninsula Lutheran Church. The event will include 25 resource booths and speakers on sex offenders in society, child abuse, neighborhood safety nets through Blockwatch, how to prepare for an emergency and “The Drug Dealer in Your Bathroom.” For details, contact the Pierce County Sheriff’s Peninsula Detachment at 798-4940, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Key Peninsula Crime Prevention Group was created in 2004 to allow citizens to voice their community concerns to local law enforcement groups. Residents and business owners on the KP meet the fourth Thursday of every month with representatives from the sheriff’s department and the Washington State Department of Corrections to help detect crime trends and create action plans for those trends.